VBT’s Top 5 European Comfort Foods

Comfort food isn’t often associated with spring time. And although your calendar says that spring is here, the chill in the air and the lingering snow on the ground seems to indicate that we have a few more weeks remaining of winter. While you wait for longer days and rising temperatures, warm up with some of our favorite European comfort foods.

RibolettaItaly

 

Italian Food, Comfort Food

We’ll start in the comfort food capital of the world, Italy. However, we’re steering away from pasta as Riboletta is chockfull of fresh veggies, legumes and, of course, just a bit of olive oil. Bring them to a boil and warm up from the inside out with this hearty Tuscan soup.

CassouletFrance

Comfort Food

There are many variations on the classic Cassoulet. It can be prepared with goose, duck, pork, pancetta or any combination of the four. Slow-roasted and utterly magnifique, this dish is certainly not as veggie-friendly as Riboletta. But if you enjoy roasts, then kick back by a fire and savor this robust stew from the south of France.

Seafood PaellaSpain

If stew’s not your style, then lighten things up, just a bit, with this delightful medley from Spain. Sure, paella can be enjoyed year-round. However, if you’re after a true taste of Audalusia, add a little cayenne pepper to spice up your seafood and fend off the bite of winter’s last few weeks.

Shepherd’s Pie—Ireland

Not always noted for its cuisine, the UK shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to purveying rich comfort foods. Shepherd’s pie is now a classic winter dish here in America, but for lending us the recipe, we owe a bit of gratitude to Ireland—a land of rolling, green hills where potatoes were plentiful enough to make this dish ubiquitous, even back in the 19th century.

PecenicaSlovenia

They say that March comes “in like a lion and out like a lamb”. Well, we’ve sort of reversed that order with our list of comfort foods, beginning with a Tuscan specialty and ending with a Slovenian dish that comes to us from the snowy Julian Alps. Suggested by VBT’s very own, Damjan, Pecenica is a delicious pork sausage, served with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and beans together. For a nice full meal, start with a traditional Slovenian mushroom soup.

This March, don’t shiver your way through the last few weeks of winter, track down a few recipes and keep warm with our favorite European comfort foods or Travel to Europe with VBT to sample some authentic cuisine straight from the source!

Top 5 Reasons to Take a Walking Tour of Provence

There are countless reasons to visit Provence. From the scenery to the food to the distinct culture of southern France, the list goes on and on. But, to point you in the right direction, we’ve put together our 5 favorite reasons to take a Walking Tour of Provence.

1. Strolling in St Remy

On Day 7 of our Walking Tour of Provence we’ll meet with a local friend, Odile Mifsud, a renowned pastry maker who invites us into her home for lunch. Next, we’ll learn about the last years of van Gogh’s life and his most famous painting, The Starry Night - which was inspired by St Remy - on a guided tour of the village with a local historian. After our informative and inspirational tour, set out to explore the small, bustling village of St Remy on your own. What it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in atmosphere. Its convenient, horseshoe-like center invites a delicious stroll around town. Luckily, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to indulge in when you’d like a rest.

2. Marvel at one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France

Gordes, Provence

On Day 4 of our adventure in Provence, we’ll take in the cobblestone streets of Gordes, which is included in the listing of “The Most Beautiful Villages in France.” Take your time exploring before ambling just outside of the village among Provence’s iconic lavender fields en route to Senanque Abbey. Here, we’ll learn how the lavender is cultivated by the Benedictine monks that still work and reside in this peaceful hamlet.

3. Mingling at le Marche

Getting closer to culture is one the best reasons to travel with VBT. On Day 5 of our Walking Tour of Provence we’ll combine a cultural experience with lots and lots of local food, visiting the market of Vaison la Romaine. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of local life here and maybe pick up a few of the most tempting items to enjoy for lunch.

4. Looking Out from Les Baux

One of the most interesting towns that you’ll find on our Walking Tour of Provence is Les Baux. Built directly into the rocky hills of Les Alpilles, this 12th century town astounds and delights visitors with its quaint shops and majestic views of the valley below. On Day 7 of our vacation, we’ll have time to explore the fascinating village and the Château des Baux, a fortified 10th century castle that sits atop the historic town.

Provence

5. The Food of France

On top of all the wonderful experiences that we’ve built into our Walking Tour of Provence, we’ve also left some time for you to wander on your own. Exploring in France is often best done by way of your taste buds. Enjoy free afternoons and evenings to find a perfect bistro to reward your day’s discovery. Best of all, our native Trip Leaders can fill you in on all the local secrets, spots that only residents know about. So you’re guaranteed to find a culinary highlight or two on your VBT Provence vacation.

Find your own favorite reason to visit southern France and join us on a Walking Tour of Provence this year!